Activist group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has released a statement condemning the producers of Amazon Prime Video series “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” after a horse died on set.
The horse reportedly died on March 21st while being exercised on the U.K. set prior to rehearsals and filming — and a necropsy confirmed that the cause of death was cardiac arrest.
“We are deeply saddened to confirm that a production horse died on 21st March,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement released on Sunday morning. “The incident took place in the morning whilst the horse was being exercised prior to rehearsals. The trainer was not in costume and filming had yet to commence. Both a veterinarian and a representative of the American Humane Association were present at the time. The independent necropsy has confirmed that the horse died of cardiac failure.”
According to a report from entertainment site Variety, there were some 30 horses being used for the second season of “The Rings of Power” — and 20 were on the set at the time of the incident, along with a veterinarian and an American Humane Association representative.
The horse in question was supplied by The Devil’s Horsemen — a Buckinghamshire-based company that has provided horses for “Wonder Woman,” “Justice League,” “Transformers: The Last Knight,” “Game Of Thrones,” and “The Crown.” This is the first known horse fatality in the company’s five-decade history.
“It seems that living underground with the orcs is par for the course for the producers of ‘The Rings of Power,’ because they have the option to use CGI, mechanical rigs and other humane methods that wouldn’t run vulnerable horses to death on set,” PETA senior vice president Lisa Lange said in a statement.
“PETA is calling on the show’s creators — and all other producers — to take on a new quest without using any real horses. If they can’t avoid exploiting animals for their art, they should find a new medium, because no one wants to see a spinoff for TV with torment as the theme,” she concluded.
The activist organization has repeatedly called for an end to using real horses — and other animals — in film, arguing that filmmakers should rely entirely on CGI instead. Barring that, PETA has said that an animal behaviorist should be on set at all times in an effort to prevent any potential mistreatment.